ID points - Aussie laws

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I mentioned something on Monday in General on the Good Morning thread, about the rigmarole easy child 2/difficult child 2 & BF2 are going through in trying to get rental accommodation. They needed 100 points of ID and didn't have enough.

    It's getting increasingly difficult to live in this country without having any personal records or any ID. Somewhere, somehow, it will catch up to you.

    When we're applying for many things, we have to provide documents across a broad range, all designed to prove we are who we say we are, we live where we say we live, we were born when we say we were born and we look like the person claiming to be us, standing at that counter. All documents provided for points verification have to be photocopied by staff there, paperwork initialled to show WHICH form of ID points we presented and only then does the transaction proceed.

    For example, we want to open a bank account. Or buy a mobile phone. We need 100 points of identification. We are presented with a list of options.
    Here is an example:

    To open a bank account at St George bank -
    For 70 points, ONE of:
    * passport (current or less than two years expired, with photo)
    * birth certificate full or extract (photocopy must be notarised by a Justice of the Peace)
    * citizenship certificate

    For 40 points, any of:
    * Drivers licence (with photo)
    * Government staff card
    * University student card (photo ID)
    * Pension card

    For 35 points, any of:
    * letter from employer (current or less than two years prior - Must be on letterhead or company seal. Both employer and employee's signature must be on the letter and Name and Address of the Employee)
    * current rates (land tax) notice - must show name and address of applicant

    For 25 points, any of:
    * Medicare card (like social security plus health insurance plus tax card all combined - every citizen MUST have one)
    * credit card/cheque book from financial institution (only one item per institution)
    * current utilities bill showing name and address (mobile phone bills not valid for this)

    Somewhere in the ID data presented must be at least one current photo ID which also shows the person's signature, birthdate and address. A lot of places want two photo IDs. Utilities bills don't count if they don't have enough information. A lot of places are no longer allowing letters from employers or landlords, since they can too easily be faked up.

    I've approximated this, to make it easier to translate.

    All that, to open a bank account. And yet, the above example is a generous, helpful one. It's fairly easy to comply, compared to many others. With this bank it's fairly easy to get to 100 points.

    Not so when trying to rent, in what is currently a landlord's market. They don't have to make it easy - there are about ten renters for every property available.

    When easy child 2/difficult child 2 & BF2 were working with the ID proof requirements for the real estate agency, the criteria were different (they often are - it's at the discretion of the business, past a certain basic legal requirement). A passport was 40 points. A driver's licence was 40 points. Credit cards, Medicare card, bank statements - 10 points. A lot of what was being asked for was way beyond what the law requires, but the business can do what they like beyond that, within reason. It makes it very difficult for young people who have never rented before (and who therefore do not have rates bills, utility bills, previous lease agreements etc).

    Now as you can see, a lot of data has to be presented. All of these records are kept and available for cross-checking. If it is for a bank account, for example, this means that the government can check to see how much money you are banking, and when. It can get cross-checked against your tax details, against your health insurance details (ie how often you see a doctor), your employment details and any pension details. In this way, the government is keeping tabs on insurance fraud, tax fraud, welfare fraud and just about everything else you could think of.

    They are especially 'hot' on welfare fraud. Even if you are not deliberately ripping off the welfare system, you can be in trouble.
    For example, difficult child 1 is on a disability pension. When he got his recent job, we had to tell the welfare people within the first two weeks, so his pension would be stopped. Thankfully, the system is compassionate (to a degree) and told us, "We will PAUSE his pension for a year, if he loses his job in that time, let us know within two weeks and we will reinstate his pension. If you do not, or he loses his job but after a year, he will have to re-apply. But because he will have been in the workforce (and therefore capable of working) he would need new conditions to be met and probably wouldn't get disability pension again."

    difficult child 1 is always careful to follow the law. But someone SNAFUd and he discovered, when checking his bank details online, that his pension was still being paid even as he also drew pay for his job.
    This is not good. Every cent of over-pay MUST be paid back. Any HINT that there is fraud involved and there are big fines to pay. It's guilty until proven innocent, they decide, they tell you you're in trouble and you have to prove you were not being a cheat. And even if you were being honest but simply didn't understand or made a mistake, you can still find yourself fined. Thanks to all the records everywhere, they WILL find out.

    So difficult child 1 quickly reported the problem. Of course, he was required to pay it all back.

    In the meantime, he lost his job. Pension had to be reinstated. We rang them within days and they were about to reinstate his pension when they saw his name flagged on the computer - "It says here that you owe us money."
    Now, the reason he owed them money - it was THEIR mistake, but for a while there it looked like his pension wouldn't be reinstated until after sufficient time had passed for outstanding money to be paid back - his pension would be entirely garnisheed until that time.

    The irony of all this - you need to be emotionally strong to cope with the red tape, the paperwork and bureaucracy. Either that, or have someone who is, to fight your battles for you.

    We have a lot of good things in Australia, including our government-subsidised health insurance.

    But before you think, "Wow! let's emigrate to Australia!" familiarise yourself with the Orwellian nature of our lifestyle and think again.

  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    We do have similar issues, though I don't think for that many things.

    We have people who have been driving with a license for years and at age 60 or so, even with a military id, they cannot renew their licence because they don't have an original birth certificate, because of various reasons (some were just born in the back woods of nowhere in the US and just don't have one). It's been a major source of some angry spots on the radio and stuff.
  3. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    THank you for explaining it all. Actually some of it DOES sound like here after all. For most things you must have 2 photo IDs and something also must have your address and often your social security number (and or social security card) - and yes, birth certificate, and um....when I was getting WIC years ago, yup- delivered mail such as utility bill...

    I had not opened a new bank account in over 20 years and was surprised when my kids went to open new ones for themself- at age 16, for PCs, before they would open hers, they checked MY credit report, -she was at the same bank where I had had a checking and saveings account 20 years-

    Funny, though, my last mortgage refinance they asked for only my drivers license and when I bought my VW Bug in the fall, they did not ask for ANYTHING! That REALLY weirded me out.

    Rental is not scarce here, nothing like what you have- BUT it is expensive. Last week I heard on radio that in order to afford a 1 bedroom apartment here in our county, if you have a minimum wage job- you would have to work 97 hours per week to afford the rent.

    Yes, difficult child gets disability, too..and yes we had to notify soc sec when she began, and yes, soc sec will want a reason her job did not work out-which is why I asked her boss- becuz I am her representative....even tho she is over 18, now. And yes, it required so much paperwork, answers, explanations etc, and yes hers is for mental illness and due to her disabilty she cannot untangle all the requirements to do the follow thru. THere is a fine line between what I am legally allowed to do for her and what I cannot do-it can get so complicated. BUT becuz of husband, I have some experience with those issues. Now with easy child turning 18 in 2 weeks, and getting ready to move on to independance etc, the easy child type legal stuff is really a whole new thing for me to learn, LOL.